Belfast Telegraph

Wayne Rooney sex storm - why aren’t the police involved?

By Gail Walker

What is it with top footballers and prostitutes? First, those stories of Peter Crouch with a Spanish call girl, now Wayne Rooney is exposed as cavorting with a £1k-plus a night prostitute while wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child, Kai.

The revelations seem to have left Rooney’s marriage in tatters as well as threatening — a la Tiger Woods — his lucrative sponsorship deals. Rooney is reportedly “devastated” and says he was “stupid”. Poor boy.

The problem is he has what the bookies would call ‘form’. Even before he married ‘childhood sweetheart’ Coleen, he’d confessed to visiting prostitutes, including one known as ‘Auld Slapper' who was a grandmother 30 years older than the then teenage protege. It was this history that forced his legal team to admit they’d little chance of keeping his romps with prostitute Jennifer Thompson (21) out of the papers.

But as footie commentators would say, it’s deja vu all over again. If it's not a premier league manager caught coming out of brothel, it’s French international players Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema soliciting underage prostitutes. They vehemently deny that they knew the girl, at 16, was underage to be a prostitute. (Oh those French and their crazy ways — while the age of consent in France is 15, it is illegal to solicit un prozzie under the age of 18). What’s not contested is that they were in the market to pay for sex.

Football has a problem: young men with incredible wealth and pampered egos.

If it was a young accountant caught using ‘grannies of the night', would we have been so quick to forget it? If he married a few months later, would we be swept away by the unstoppable romance of his (no doubt less glam) version of the ‘Wayne ’n’ Coleen' story? I doubt it.

But what’s the difference between a Premiership footballer using a prostitute and some seedy nobody kerb-crawling the back of City Hall?

Money, of course. And arrogance. As Thompson says: “Wayne certainly enjoyed all our meetings and didn’t seem to care what he was doing to his wife. I think he believes he is invincible and untouchable. As a woman, I wouldn’t want that done to me — especially if I was pregnant.”

The problem is that Wayne's probably right in his belief that he won’t be touched.

And we allow it because they're different from us, aren't they? The media will lead us all down the garden path in completely the wrong direction, from the grim reality into the usual melodrama. Will Coleen leave Wayne? Should Coleen leave Wayne? Was Wayne off-form in South Africa because of the gathering storm? Where does it leave football?

But one thing baffles me. Thompson alleges that Wayne Rooney paid handsomely to have sex with her on at least seven occasion over four months. More, that the nature of the relationship was clear from the off. When Wayne first texted Thompson wanting to see her, she made it clear that he’d have to pay.

So, why isn't there a hint of police involvement? After all, soliciting is still a crime. Disgracefully, the law is less clear cut on punishment for the man paying, and the question has to be raised: why is this so? What happened to all those promises to make the man as accountable as the woman? Why aren't Thompson and Rooney being questioned by police?

Because this story involves a footballing ‘hero', a confident young woman, Manchester nightclubs, casinos and exclusive hotels, it doesn't make it some kind of Pretty Woman moment that will just blow over. It's as grubby as some squalid backstreet brothel. More so, in fact, because it’s a demonstration of the sheer power of money to reduce women to pieces of meat.

Thompson’s tale may represent the ‘respectable’, Belle du Jour end of the sex trade but it’s still the sex trade, in which thousands of woman are either trafficked or forced by circumstances into a degrading and miserable business. And anyone involved in that doesn't deserve to be considered ‘a national hero'.

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